By Rotimi Opeyeoluwa
One of the major realities of the victory of the All Progressive Congress, (APC), in the recently concluded polls is the attendant jostling for positions mainly in the executive and legislative branches of government. Such is expected. The permutations, intense politicking, horse trading, speculations and deft moves have made interesting headlines, especially in the build up of the 8thNational Assembly which shall be inaugurated on June 6, 2015.
The office of the Senate President is the third most important elective office and as such has and would always elicit the interest of Senators on account of the prestige and strategic role which the occupant of that office is empowered to play in the affairs of the country.
Electing the right man to the post is a task that the recently elected Senators must take cognisance off on account of the high expectation of Nigerians for quality governance. The required synergy which the Presidency would need must resonate with the thinking of the leadership of the National Assembly, especially the Senate leadership for the strategic partnership which is needed to forge a sound working relationship in the interest of the country.
The jostling has provoked a floodgate of commentaries on the suitability or otherwise of perceived front runners. Several names are been bandied around but one that stands out on account of his level of preparedness is Senator Abubakar Saraki, the scion of the late strongman of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki. Given the majority status of the APC in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, it is expected that the party would in line with the time tested tradition of both chambers elect one of its own as the Senate President and the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives respectively.
For the Senate Presidency, one name that has remained a recurring decimal in all of the permutations is Senator Bukola Abubakar Saraki, a political giant by all standards. It is doubtful if ABS as he is fondly called by his political associates will not clinch the post on account of his cerebral mind, political sagacity, clout, vast political networks which stretches to all the corners of Nigeria and all political parties and his deftness. A natural leader, he is tested and has proven cynics wrong severally. His support base which is growing by the day maintains that he has an understanding of the noble and historical role expected of him as Senate President. His emergence as the President of the Senate they maintain would signal a landmark prospect in the shifting fortunes of the political destiny of Nigeria.
He comes highly recommended. Political observers point to his abilities which are not in short supply, commanding presence, unusual depth which affirms that only the deep can call to the deep, his readiness to take calculated risks in the pursuit, defence and advancement of worthy causes. His admirers point to courage and sense of responsibility to the Nigerian project. But for his blowing the lid on the scam in the oil subsidy regime, especially the huge aspects dealing with budgetary provisions, the rot in the petroleum sector will have remained in the realm of conjecture. This disclosure brought him into a collision path with the executive bent on sustaining the fraud. He was hounded, harassed and intimidated but it was a price worthy for a cause which he believed in.
Senator Saraki is enigmatic, charismatic, composed and highly accommodating. The Saraki phenomenon and appeal is mind boggling and this is what has informed this analysis on the man who is set to become the next senate president on account of his sterling qualities. He has never for once premised his ambition on mundane sentiments like many others. His is an offer to service with vision, a roadmap which his supporters have and continue to share with ease. A greater Senate is possible is saraki’s rallying cry.
It is not for nothing that Saraki represents freshness, especially to many of his political devotes who look up to him and this country for hope and leadership in this historic moment. The flame of hope which was kindled on March 28, 2015 finds bearing in his unique abilities to advance the noble aspirations of our people to realise their inherent longings for good life.It was mainly because of his role that the APC was able to make appreciable incursion into the North Central geo-political zone, a zone hitherto a fortress of the ousted Peoples Democratic Party.
In 2011, Saraki made a tepid attempt at the presidency: throughout the campaigns, he urged his teeming supporters to shoulder the burden of defending the nation at a time of uncertainty and excruciating pains. This is another opportunity for him to re-enact his promise on the national stage.
In the recent past, since the founding of the country, every generation of Nigerians has been called to give an account of its worthiness to the national cause. At a time, some fought for independence. At another some took over the reins of power from the colonial masters and another fought the bitter Nigeria-Biafran civil war. The call for the moment is uniquely auspicious. Nigerians want and deserve good governance and Saraki offers his shoulder to carry the burden.
Only men wired like Saraki can give vent to the realization of such lofty dreams. He has justified the trust reposed in him in the past either as a presidential aide, a governor, senator with razor sharp intellect in the 7th Senate and now his pace is indicative of his availability to “bear the burdens” for a renaissance Nigeria. Saraki with his clout can rally the Senate to give the President Elect, Mahammudu Buhari the needed legislative support to rout out poverty, diseases and other vices that have in the past held the country by the jugular.
The Senate faces a clear choice which it must make. A call to stir itself by moving away from the entrenched tradition of aloofness to the sufferings of the citizenry, with saraki, it shall be the dawn of a new era.
The APC cannot afford to not to give the nation the best from within its ranks for the post of Senate President and with due respects to other contestants, Saraki is the best man for the job. Saraki, represents an opportunity for the Senate to live true to its finest hour since the return of democracy in 1999. A natural leader with flair for the welfare of people, saraki will make a definite mark in the annals of our country. It is time for a new generation of leader(s) to take charge of the Senate. Saraki is in that mould and to see him lead the senate would be like watching a grand master in charge of an orchestra.
Yoruba Youth Assembly